A century after two Hawera men were awarded the Victoria Cross for their bravery during WW1, their descendants watched as their statues were formally unveiled in a memorial garden in their home town.
"Of the 11 New Zealanders to have received the Victoria Cross during WW1, it is pretty impressive two of them came from Hawera," South Taranaki District Mayor Ross said.
He was pleased the South Taranaki RSA and the South Taranaki District Council had been able to work together to create the garden "which will be enjoyed by generations to come" while honouring John Grant and Henry Laurent.
The garden, designed in the shape of a Victoria Cross, and located near the two streets named after the two men was a centennial project for the South Taranaki RSA, which celebrates it 100th birthday this year.
Speakers at Saturday's formal ceremony also MP Andrew Little and a representative of the French ambassador to New Zealand.
For Peter Laurent, Henry Laurent's son, the ceremony was "very moving". He had travelled from Whangarei to see his father's statue unveiled and said he was "very proud" his father had been honoured in such a way.
Peter, who was the middle of three brothers, said when the they were growing up, they weren't really aware of their father's heroic actions.
"He didn't talk about his experience in the war really, unless we asked him directly about it. But we were very fortunate to have been able to travel with him when he went to receive the VC. Later one, when we were older we asked more about it and realised what a big thing it was."
His father, said Peter, "was a very good man, he took us fishing, he did lots of things with us. He was a great father".
For sisters Irene Waller, Pat Eynon, Margaret Fleming and Sandra Sole, being present at the ceremony was very meaningful.
The four women, nieces of John Grant, all still live in Taranaki and they were joined at the unveiling by Grant's great niece Shona Waller as his great great niece Zoe Waller.
At nine-years-old, Zoe has grown up in a world very different to that of her distinguished relative, but was pleased there is now a statue of him in her home town.
Mayor Ross Dunlop was pleased with the turnout and said Hawera was "very proud" of its two heroes.
"I think it is great that 100 years on, so many people came out today to honour the actions of these men."
Sergeant Henry John Laurent
2nd Battalion, 3rd NZ (Rifle) Brigade, 1NZEF
Date of action: 12 September 1918 (Gouzeaucourt Wood, France)
Date of award: 15 November 1918
Taranaki-raised Henry (Harry) Laurent arrived in France with the 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade and was wounded on the Somme in 1916.
He won his VC near Gouzeaucourt Wood in September 1918 when the 12-man fighting patrol he was leading became lost behind enemy lines.
In the process of extricating his men, Laurent attacked a German trench system, killing 30 enemy soldiers and capturing 112 prisoners in fierce hand-to-hand fighting.
He then led his patrol back to their own lines, managing to keep all the prisoners under control while at the same time fighting a rearguard action.
In total, his party suffered only four casualties.
Sergeant John Gildroy Grant
1st Battalion, Wellington Infantry Regiment, 1NZEF
Date of action: 1 September 1918 (near Bancourt, France)
Date of award: 27 November 1918
A builder from Hawera, John Grant joined the 1st Battalion, Wellington Regiment in Egypt just before it was sent to France in April 1916.
He received the VC for his conduct on 1 September 1918 as the New Zealand Division advanced near Bapaume.
When his battalion attacked German machine-gun positions on Bancourt Ridge, Grant and another soldier rushed the guns, leaping into the machine-gun post in the centre of the defences to destroy it.
He then eliminated a nearby position in a similar fashion.